WELCOME to Ward’s Week – a new opinion column that I hope will be thought-provoking, interesting and, now and then, might just annoy you.
To paraphrase Troy McClure from The Simpsons, you might remember me from such opinion columns as The Editor’s Chair.
This new weekly column is simply my view on the week gone by. It’s an opinion pure and simple.
You don’t have to agree with what I have to say but, hopefully, you respect my right to hold the opinions I express – as I respect those with differing views and values.
It’s also important to point out that the views expressed in this column will be mine alone. They do not represent the view of the Argus – and that’s the beauty of a free press and free speech.
I’m pleased to be continuing my relationship with the Argus more than 27 years after I first walked into the Newport newsroom as a young sub-editor.
As some of you will know, I left the Argus at the end of last year after almost five years as Editor and I will always consider it a privilege to have been the custodian of Gwent’s daily news service.
This is now my third week of working for myself, running Kevin Ward Media – a communications, public relations and media consultancy.
Based in Newport, I provide a range of media-related services to organisations in the private, public and third sectors including PR strategies, media training and reputation management.
Ultimately, as I told Newport’s City Summit in November, I will be working with organisations that share the passion and positivity I feel for this part of the country.
Despite much of the negativity you might read online, there are great things happening in Newport and the surrounding area.
New businesses are springing up all the time and, after just a few weeks of running my own business, I have nothing but admiration for the people behind the likes of Hi Coffee, Tiny Rebel, Parc Pantry, Horton’s Coffee House, Meat, Black Bear, HMO Heaven and Brand Lab.
All are start-ups or relatively new businesses but all are thriving and bringing choice and diversity to Newport.
And for the sake of clarity, I should point out that none of the examples listed are clients of mine.
But they – and many other similar businesses across Gwent – represent the true face of this area. Positive people who are doing something to improve their lot rather than just sitting behind a keyboard, moaning about everything and anything.
That’s not to say everything is perfect; of course it isn’t. But it is a lot better than some would have you believe.
Unremitting positivity about Newport and the surrounding area will be a key feature of this column and I make no apology for that.
See you next week.
… for anyone who doesn’t like stage-managed press conferences.
Whatever your views on US President-Elect Donald Trump, his tenure at the White House is certainly going to be entertaining.
Last week’s press conference was controversial, enthralling and hilarious.
Whether Mr Trump will be able to continue in the same vein after his inauguration on Friday remains to be seen.
But don’t bet against it.
… for GPs in England, who have become the latest target for the government as it thrashes around trying to find a solution to the crisis in the NHS.
The problems in the health service have been described as ‘unprecedented’ by Jeremy Hunt, the UK Health Secretary.
They are not. The increased demand on the NHS caused by the combination of an increasing and ageing population has been predicted for decades.
Successive governments have failed in their duty to deal with the looming crisis.
Targeting one section of the health service is not the answer but it suits the current government’s agenda of always finding someone else to blame.
Ward's Week is published in the South Wales Argus every Tuesday.